During our weekly racquetball game, when I first asked Napa MacArthur-Hughes if I could interview him about his job at BuzzFarmers, he instructed me to make an appointment with our office manager, Mary, explaining that his responsibilities as housecarl and one of the world’s busiest office dogs are so demanding that he can’t keep track of them.
When we finally sat down together, Napa was in the middle of his neighborhood-watch shift here in the office, and something was happening outside between a bee and a construction worker that he just couldn’t miss. You see, Napa may tell you about how he spends much of his workday gazing over the view from our beautiful work windows, but what he doesn’t share is that he created this “neighborhood watch” program because his personal dream – in addition to his vast and varied business interests – is to be a dog detective.
He loves sniffing out a trail – you should see the amount of work he puts into his own blog, Napa’s Daily Growl. He takes his research and interviewing to the extreme. Take Poop Week, for example. Napa wrote about constipation, safe dog laxatives, diarrhea, picking up after a dog, and why some dogs even eat poop. When Napa isn’t playing detective, writing, or researching, you can often find him resting in sun spots, playing with his toys, and cuddling up near an employee to encourage them. He often tells us how lucky he feels to work with us, but believe me, we’re the lucky ones.
With all of the great office dogs Napa’s interviewing at his Daily Growl, we wanted to get in on the act with some cross-blog promotion. Here, without further ado, is our conversation.
Do you shop locally?
We do. You’ll notice in various posts on our blog that shopping local and supporting small local businesses is important to us.
Back in March, Amanda and Patrick walked into our new office in the Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket, R.I., with a blank canvas. The floors were rugged with history of the candy-making machines that once adorned them and the walls just a flat white. In about 1,050 square feet, they’d finally stomp their feet deeply into the earth (er, wood floor) and say “This is where we’ll be for a while.”
I’ve never told anyone this, but one time I saw Chris Sturk walk through a wall.
Oh, sure, I’d watched full-grown sunflowers – after Chris stood up and walked away – sprout in a patch of grass that he’d been squatting in just minutes before, and I’ll never forget when he opened his mouth to start a presentation during an editorial meeting with an important client, and a tiny hologram of Ornette Coleman crawled out, looking around warily yet still improvising the saxophone parts for both volumes of At the “Golden Circle” Stockholm with his customary deftness.
Chris just smiled and looked right through the soul of each person at the conference table, one by one. We were all … changed that day.
Hi! My name is Napa, and I’m the BuzzFarmers office dog. While my official title here at the company is housecarl, I’m pretty much in charge of everything.
Are you an office dog? Do you get up in the morning ready to start your day and head out to work? I sure do! A little breakfast, some yoga stretches, and relieving myself outside. Getting ready is the easiest part of my morning routine. All I have to do is don a bow tie, and I’m dressed for success.
Within the span of her first two responses during our introductory Q&A, which you can read below, Erin Ollila goes from Lizzie Borden to dwarves to Cambodian food to Ducky from The Land Before Time to backyard recreational sports.
That’s not unlike any casual conversation with Erin. It starts with an innocent “Good morning, Erin, how are you?,” pinballs all over the place, and the next thing you know, you can still hear her voice trailing off down the hallway behind you as you walk outside to your car to head home.
When we’re not around, she talks to Napa the Dog. When Napa’s out with us and nobody’s around, she talks to the security camera. She talks in her sleep. She talks to ATM machines and those annoying videos on gas station pumps. She talks to her food. She got married last weekend, and her vows were written on an On the Road-length scroll trailing behind her as she made her way to the altar. They were longer than her train, and their safe passage down the aisle required the assistance of several adorable children who strained under their weight. It reportedly took her a full five and a half hours to read them. This was reported by her, because everyone else had already left for the reception.
Before you meet Mary Raymond, we ask that you first watch this short and SFWeet video as a primer. Come on – we’ll even watch it with you.
OK, thanks. Or, wait a minute, maybe it should be you thanking us! Isn’t your day just a little bit better now? Well, that’s basically what we experience here at the BuzzFarmers office every time Mary walks through the door. Like that classic scene’s trilling birds and woodland creatures, co-workers happily converge on her, wanting to be closer, craving her attention. When she opens her mouth, it’s almost as if no words come out, but rather “A Smile and a Song.” And, much like Snow White, Mary is a brunette who sometimes wears dresses.
Mary is also a master organizer, communicator, and networker, which makes her the ideal business and office manager. She hopscotches around social media with childlike – one might call it infectious – enthusiasm, while keeping everyone entertained and on task. Somehow, she also lends a hand with content and SEO. How BuzzFarmers actually accomplished stuff prior to her association with the company is anyone’s guess.
Shawn Badgley has wanted to work at BuzzFarmers since before it even existed; since he was a small child in the Nineties growing up on a mire in Belarus, the sixteenth of 17 children born to peat gatherers Vsevolod and Varvara Badgley. Every morning, he would load up hardtack rations on a peat wagon, hitch it to his favorite goat, Gleb, and ride out to a secret writing spot nestled near the Bug River.
There, he would research the flora and fauna, practice his interviewing skills on Gleb, and “blog” on the walls of a mushroom cave, since computers – or electricity, for that matter – had not yet been introduced to his village of Merechevschina. Typewriters, too, were scarce. Pens, pencils, and paper, as well.
So, I wrote this really epic post to go along with this cute graphic Sarah made just for it.
In it, I talked about the fact that we’re hiring, plus the order in which we’ll do so (business manager, social media analyst, managing editor, wordpress developer). Then, I even told you when we’re scheduling interviews and common reasons why you might not get an interview (if you don’t).
But then Pat told me I couldn’t say any of those things or somebody might sue us.
So, instead, I’m consolidating and just telling you that we’re hiring and that we’re hiring one position at a time, in the order above, and if you don’t hear from us, I’m sorry, I love you, and we might have future plans for you with different types of clients. And also that I appreciate your putting your hearts and souls into your applications and talking to us on Twitter.
Also, this won’t be the last time we’re hiring for these positions. So.
That’s all I can say before Pat unplugs the Internet and locks me out of the blog.
This month, we’re in hiring mode. During the next 30 days, we’ll be interviewing and hiring a new social media manager and a second managing editor.
All the while, our office is being built, and we’re collecting furnishings from around Rhode Island to put in it so that it’s a proper second home. Today, we visited the famous Lorimer Workshop to help design our perfect conference table and can’t wait for it to be done!
Exciting, yes? Frightening? Super yes!
For the past few years, our little blogging company has been here, there, and everywhere. We’ve been gypsies, traveling around the states, and we’ve had a couple of small temporary offices in Worcester, Mass., and Homosassa, Fla.. Just a few months ago, we were trying to decide whether we should hit the road in a traveling office (aka a Winnebago) or settle down here in Providence.
You might be able to guess which one we chose.